Cities to visit in Cuba are locked in the 1950s – cobbled streets lined with colonial, crumbling architecture through which classic cars rumble, and with dance theatres, salsa clubs, cocktails, and artists’ studio’s bars tucked away in every plaza. We’ve picked popular cities in Cuba to get you inspired – from Havana with its classic Malecon scenes, the labyrinthine streets of Camaguey designed to confuse pirates and Cienfuegos – the “Pearl of the South”. The major cities in Cuba experienced rapid growth during subsequent centuries becoming important centers for trade within the country. Many international and local businesses- private and governmental have been established in these largest cities in Cuba. Here we’ve rounded up a list of the best cities in Cuba.
List of Cities in Cuba
Without some time in the national capital, no trip to Cuba is complete and you’re sure to find yourself in Havana if only in making your way to or from the international airport. For sightseeing purposes, the center of the action is the neighborhood known as Habana Vieja – Old Havana. The most ancient part of the city, dating back to the earliest days of Spanish colonial rule in the city, this UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site has almost endless attractions both old and new. The culture makes this city one of the most important cities in Cuba. The old forts to the Museo de la Revolucion, which retells the history of Castro’s successful communist uprising, attractions abound from centuries. Be sure to spend time in the shady squares that are interlinked by the city’s oldest streets watching the world go by, and head towards the Malecon sea promenade come evening to see what makes the capital tick.
Vinales couldn’t be more different from Havana, in many ways. Where one is a bustling metropolis of different neighborhoods, roaring engines, and revolutionary propaganda, the other is a verdant Eden of fantastic landscapes that takes visitors back to the days when farming was one of the island’s primary occupations, be that sugar cane, tobacco, or food crops. Here in this one of the cities of Cuba, you’ll find the drying houses of the tobacco leaves that are later rolled into the country’s famed cigar exports. The city’s traditional feel has managed to survive the onslaught of the twenty-first century, and Vinales remains a place where spending time with neighbors and friends is high on the list of things to do. It has to be the combination of traditional hospitality and expansive countryside that welcomes hikers, cyclists, and cavers too and it all makes Vinales one of the best cities in Cuba for tourists.
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Four to five hours roughly east of Havana, in the opposite direction from Vinales, Trinidad is also certainly one of the best cities in Cuba for vacation. One of the best-preserved colonial-era cities anywhere on the island Trinidad is one of the earliest settlements and big cities in Cuba founded after the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s. Oozing history, cobblestoned streets are lined with grandiose architectural gems well worth exploring with a good pair of walking shoes in tow. But you should also take your walking boots to Trinidad in order to head out on one of the surrounding hiking trails, while horse riding is another popular attraction for tourists. Truly spoilt for choice, Topes de Collantes National Park offers visitors an amazing mix of misty mountain tops, tumbling waterfalls, and a huge variety of birdlife. Alternatively, the Valle de Los Ingenios or the Valley of the Sugar Mills, blends history with agriculture, with various remains from the time when this area was the prime producer of sugar cane in the country.
4. Santa Clara
Anyone interested in the revolution that overthrew the Cuban dictator, Santa Clara is one of the must-see cities in Cuba. This dictator brought Fidel Castro to power in the late 1950s. A seven-meter tall bronze statue of fellow revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara overlooking the city from a nearby hilltop is one of the major attractions in this Santa Clara. Where the remains of ‘El Che’ were interred after they were discovered in Bolivia in the 1990s, having been lost for decades, it marks the site of the Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum. One of the cities of Cuba also holds some important revolutionary relics, such as a military supply train sent by Batista to reinforce his troops and derailed by Guevara’s forces. This is often seen as a turning point in the revolution and is, therefore, an important historical point of interest whatever your political views.
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5. Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is situated in the far east of the country, you can’t get much further from Havana than Santiago de Cuba. Its distance from the capital means it remains one of the most authentically Cuban cities anywhere on the island. The nation’s first colonial capital, Santiago’s streets have an intriguing blend of cultures, the result of Spanish, West African, French, and British immigrants arriving in the city and calling it home. In more recent times, this one of the biggest cities in Cuba witnessed the first shots fired in anger during what became the revolution, and the balcony of the city hall was where Castro stood and declared the revolutionaries victorious. Where a changing of the guard ceremony takes place every half an hour and you can pay your respects to him in the city’s Santa Ifigenia cemetery.
While many tours of the island miss out on Baracoa, we think it is another of the main cities in Cuba. It has largely managed to retain its natural tropical setting and is often touted as the greenest city in Cuba, the site of Christopher Columbus’ first landing in Cuba. Until recently are dotted with a fantastic number of plants and flowers, including cocoa and banana that sweep down to the banks of the river the mountains that have meant Baracoa has been relatively isolated from the rest of the island, while fortifications dating back to the nineteenth century are also worth some time.
Cienfuegos was founded in 1819 and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. The fortress of Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles de Jagua still stands guard to this day. The city itself is one of the famous cities in Cuba and the earliest examples of urban planning in Latin America – with long, wide, tree-lined boulevards linking pretty parks and plazas. The botanical garden, Cuba’s largest, with over 2,000 plant species, the Provincial Museum, which reveals the wealth and importance of Cienfuegos in the colonial era and the National Naval Museum, which contains documents dating back to the 1957 revolution are some major point of interest in Cuba.
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8. Valle de Viñales
Nestled in the Sierra de Los Órganos mountain range, explore this one of the best cities in Cuba to visit. With tiny towns, towering, rounded limestone cliffs, stick-straight pine trees, and traditional tobacco farms, the UNESCO site is filled. Enjoy the slow way of life after hiring a bike, hike, or ride horses through the lush valley. with tobacco grown in the Valle de Viñales, The biggest cigar brands in the country are supplied, the area that epitomizes rural Cuban life.
With a population of 294,002, Holguin is one of the most beautiful cities in Cuba and also the capital of Holguin province. By the Spanish Captain Garcia Holguin, the city was established in the 16th century. With beach resorts, a sports center with a baseball stadiumHolguin is an important tourist center. The city is an important recreation and entertainment, transport, and educational center, aside from tourism and sport. Holguin is home to Centro Provincial de Arte Gallery and La Periquera museum.
Most casual visitors to Cuba, usually on a tour bus to Varadero sail right over the top of it, but, a few curious adventurers dive down and discover that this ostensibly scruffy city is still full of priceless treasure. Matanzas was a very different place, go back a few generations. This one of the cities in Cuba developed a gigantic literary and musical heritage and was regularly touted as the ‘Athens of Cuba, ‘ during the 18th and 19th centuries. Along with various religions of African origin Two pivotal Cuban musical forms, danzón and rumba, were hatched here. One of Cuba’s finest theaters, Matanzas hosts it. This place was the birthplace of some of its most eloquent poets and writers. The cultural riches haven’t disappeared, despite the contemporary aura of decay.
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